We were about to cross the intersection of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue about 5:20 p.m. when a swarm of costumed bikers swooped onto the curb in front of us. They continued to pedal furiously toward Sather Gate. After about two seconds of initial amusement, we went on our merry way toward Mars Mercantile and bought a super cute Halloween costume.

We think the bikers were part of that crazy traffic-blocking bike brigade, Critical Mass, whom we sometimes see parading the streets around campus with wheeled speakers and environmentalist messages attached to their backs. This time it was wings and capes–admittedly, a much better look than their usual “smelly-looking hippie” ensembles.

Image Source: Patrici Flores
Berkeley Critical Mass — an unnoficial homepage [Web site]

Tonight, the Associated Students of the University of California hosts a Crime Walk. The goal: to spot faulty street lights and find other ways to get Berkeley to bring safety back. This year, our city’s streets gobbled up stuff from pretty much everyone–including iPods, wallets, laptops, our false sense of security and that 20 minutes you spent trying to drive from Hearst Avenue to Telegraph Avenue.

The Clog’s first reaction to this event: Yay! The ASUC saw our Safety Top Ten and took No. 7 seriously! We’re flattered. Anyway, if you want to take part in the walk–meet at Sproul Fountain at 6:30 p.m. and party all the way ’til 9:30 p.m. Councilmember Kriss Worthington is joining the walk, so now you know you have to go.

Tomorrow, there will be an even larger scale community service event–the Berkeley Project, which consists of 1,500 volunteers doing various landscaping projects to make the city look prettier and thus a little safer-looking. According to the site list on the BP Web site, the volunteers will participate in activities like graffiti abatement, landscaping the Berkeley Marina and refurbishing Indian Rock.

As the Clog highly prefers efficient multitasking–especially when it comes to manual labor–we have an invaluable suggestion for all the admirable community-oriented folks who are organizing next year’s charitable events bonanza: the Berkeley Crime Walk Project! Imagine–a fun-filled night of painting over graffiti as it is painted, spotting lewd behavior around Marina make-out spots and confiscating the syringes from Berkeley High students at Indian Rock. Why no one has come up with this genius idea is beyond us.

Image Source: Patrici Flores
UC students to use walk to identify crime spots [Inside Bay Area]
The Berkeley Project [Web site]
Earlier: Top Ten: Your Metaphorical Security Blanket

What is it about telling and reading deep secrets that is so drawing? And why does it seem that that pull is so obviously, and annoyingly, affiliated with Berkeley students?

The obvious medium of telling and reading anonymous secrets is the blog PostSecret, which describes itself as “an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.”

Surprise, suprise: Frank Warren, the founder of the third most popular blog, is a Cal alumnus.

We don’t think that is any contributing factor to the creation of the Berkeley version, Cal Secrets. We have a sneaking suspicion that contributing factors are more like the fact that Berkeley students are just, well, crazy, and need to divulge that. The Daily Cal reports:

“We are already seeing an increase of over 10 percent in volume in the number of students seeking counseling,” said (Jeffrey Prince, director of counseling and psychological services for university health services). “Compared to other colleges and universities, and compared to other UC campuses, we typically tend to see a slightly higher percentage of the student population.

Another suspicion why an exhibit like Cal Secrets works so well with our campus is that we are obsessed with our own drama (well, not like other college students aren’t). This is merely indicated by all the other mediums Berkeley students have latched on to in order to make their lives as public as possible.

You wouldn’t think that this self-obsession comes from boredom, but the website boredatcal.net seems to indicate that. Yes, that’s the site printed on all those annoying sticky notes that plaster the lecture rooms of Dwinelle Hall.

The size of the Cal Secrets Facebook group is also an indication of our self-infatuation with our own drama.

And not to mention the general campus buzz after that lame boyfriend chalked lovey-dovey words all the way from McCone to Wheeler. Everyone was surrounding it, reading it, speculating on it. It was like PostSecret in chalk form.

And we can’t forget the crux draw of Facebook–the ability to update your status regularly to tell everyone what is going on in your head.

And then there’s even AnonCon at LiveJournal during finals.

Why do Berkeley students feel such a need to be public about their crap … and why do we enjoy when others do it so much?

And why do the words anonymous and annoying sound so similar?

At least one person is aware enough of this sick trend to satirize it. At least we hope this Berkeley student (whose identity was not anonymous) was satirizing it when he wrote on the wall of the Cal Secrets Facebook group:

OK guys. I’ll start off the secret-telling I guess. This is something I’ve been wanting to scream from the rooftops for years and years but there was nobody I could tell it to. Here goes:

Back when I was seven, I was out in the backyard hitting baseballs into a net. Well, one of them got away from me and hit my neighbor’s cat in the head, killing it. I told my neighbor that a rock fell on it.

Whoo that feels good. I’m glad there’s finally a totally anonymous place I can get that off my chest.

It sure is great to have a sense of privacy in the world.

Image Source: Harmony Larson, Daily Cal
Mental Health Effort Calls on Students to Divulge Secrets [Daily Cal]
A Week to Show That You Are Not Alone [Daily Cal]
Secret sharing reveals buried fears, regrets [Contra Costa Times]

Microsoft and Google duked it out for some Facebook ownership, and it looks like Bill Gates wins this round. Microsoft penned a deal to buy 1.6 percent of Facebook for $240 million, which (at that rate) would price the entire site at $15 billion. Google wanted a piece of the action, too, but it’ll have to be content with its $900 million deal with MySpace.

Facebook is growing, and it’s the site to watch … or at least Microsoft hopes. Right now, Facebook sees about 50 million active users while MySpace rakes in about 110 million. Microsoft thinks Facebook could quadruple its numbers and possibly surpass its rival.

So now we get it. Opening up the site to everyone and their mothers was a ploy to get more money. Ah, Zuckerberg, whatever happened to your elitism?

The Chronicle’s front page was bursting with the news, and we’re sure the big guns at Microsoft were jerking off to their glory:

For Microsoft, the deal with Facebook was a must-have, cementing its ad business and signaling that it’s serious about Web 2.0 ventures, said Allen Weiner, an analyst with Gartner.

“This is Microsoft saying, ‘We are going to be a key player in Web 2.0 and the intersection of the Web and media,’ ” Weiner said.

Does anyone else despise this term, “Web 2.0,” or are we just too hip for the game? It’s the World Wide Web–second release. Better graphics! More hidden levels! Oh, and don’t forget those widget thingies–let’s get more of those, whatever they do.

Maybe we’re just pissy because Microsoft products are so expensive and we’re still stuck with Word 2000 and the Word 2007 program in the computer lab is so damn confusing no matter how many times we use it. We propose that Microsoft make up for this travesty by offering free programs through Facebook. And can Adobe get involved in this too? We’d really like to get Photoshop on our computer. We could have made a mindblowing graphic of Zuckerberg and Gates making out or something.

So we’re a little upset Google didn’t hook up with Facebook. Why? Because Gmail is the greatest thing ever and Google Calendar controls our lives. Plus, “google” is officially a verb. “MSN search” is not. Enough said.

Microsoft buys stake in Facebook [SF Gate]

We’re so glad that nowadays we can share our thoughts with up to 10 people using “the online blogopolis.”

Often, people will come up to us and say, “Clog, what is blogging? What is this Intarwebs?” We refer them to Gabe and Max. And then laugh. Not at them, but mostly because we’re watching that lolcats video on YouTube again.

The sad thing is we could totally do a legit blog post about some dude on the bus because, hey, it’s Berkeley. Especially if we’re talking about the 51 here.

Gabe & Max’s Internet Thing [YouTube]

As hundreds of thousands (and probably more in the next day or so) flee fire-threatened homes across much of Southern California this week, we couldn’t help but notice that a good chunk of those evacuees’ kids and friends are here at Berkeley.

We also couldn’t help noticing a number of evacuees are coming to the Bay Area for a respite of fresher air and (hella) similarly bad traffic.

One of our brethren to the south, UC San Diego, was closed Monday and Tuesday, and though we’d like to say we’re jealous of the time off, we can’t say they’re under the best of circumstances.

Meanwhile, classmates here have received e-mails about campus support left and right, and some are packing up here to go pack up down there. Anyone flying Southwest? We– and Southwest– don’t recommend skirts.

There’s not a whole lot else to say on the matter, but there is a silver lining: FEMA is not letting this one slip by the wayside, for more reasons than the rich folk.

We wish FEMA-issued trailer homes on none of the displaced victims of these fires, but if it happens, remember there’s also that e-mail you got from the university pledging its support and the availability of emergency loans.

Frustrated Students Watch as Fires Blaze [Daily Cal]
Southern California Fires Threaten Homes [Daily Cal]
Bay Area families open their homes to fire evacuees [SF Gate]
500,000 Flee Raging California Wildfires [Associated Press]

Let’s face it: No one saw it coming. We had speculations about Harry and Ron for, like, a minute, and some conspiracy theorists contemplated Draco, but Dumbledore?

In light of Dumbledore’s recent outing by author J.K. Rowling (and Louis Peitzman’s Daily Cal article), we thought it prudent, or at least interesting, to present other popular characters of questioned sexual orientation:

* Smurfs. Consider especially in light of that scene in “Donnie Darko”.

* Bert & Ernie. Their rampant drug use and promiscuity is almost as bad as the Teletubbies craze.

* Spongebob Squarepants. He does live in a pineapple under the sea …

Of course, we can’t forget Facebook groups themselves. Or homophobia. Or fraternities (sorta)–one of which, as it happens, bills itself as the gay frat and recently joined the Interfraternity Council.

UPDATE: Speaking of Louis Peitzman, his editorial in Monday’s Daily Cal sparked the interests of National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” broadcast, in which they interviewed him later that day.

Image Source: Gillian Dreher, Daily Cal
Outed! Millions of Potter Fans React After J.K. Rowling Reveals Dumbledore’s Sexuality [Daily Cal]
School’s Only Gay Greek Group Joins Interfraternity Council [Daily Cal]
‘Potter’ Fans Learn that Wizard Dumbledore is Gay [NPR]

The Bears suffered their second loss in a row this season, finishing Saturday’s game 30-21 against the Bruins. We were thoroughly depressed for a good hour, and then we got free samples from Bakesale Betty. Other bloggers didn’t have this luck, so we’re making up for our lack of appropriate fandom. Here’s what the sports blogosphere had to say:

Tedheads No More
“Jeff Tedford did a remarkable job of being more conservative than Karl Dorrell,” Kevin of TBIOOTF write. “He flatly coached down to his competition.” The honeymoon is over.

The honeymoon is definitely over, Eli of TBIOOTF agrees. This was a game of “pedestrian playcalling.”

Avinash of Bears Necessity thinks it’s absolutely embarrassing that we were

outcoached by a laughingstock who called a timeout, took a delay of game, … punted on 4th and 1 at midfield and proceeded to have his homecrowd boo him for two minutes.

The loss could become even more embarrassing in time.

Oh, and btw, Tedford’s losing record in LA is now 0-6, Eric of Cal Football Fan mentions. Now that’s embarrassing.

Nate Longshore vs. Kevin Riley
Longshore worked well on his ankle, considering his injury, but that did eventually limit the offense in the first half, Kevin explains. Plus, he can’t “throw an out to save his life.”

Eli would have gone for Riley, whom he believes proved himself against the Beavers, over Longshore:

When healthy, Longshore is a below-average athlete with a solid arm and sound decision-making skills. With a bum ankle, Longshore is a horrible athlete who cannot generate the same physical momentum on his throws, making him a weaker quarterback, decision-making aside.

Avinash agrees that UCLA exploited Longshore’s weakness.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Was there anything good about this game? Avinash best describes the game in a single play:

We sacked a guy with a torn MCL once or twice, and I’m pretty sure one of those sacks was an accident, like two retards running into each other during a soccer game.

There was no way we could run the ball against the Bruins defense, Kevin points out. We turned the ball over too many times.

Eli calls out the horizontal passes, extremely conservative running plays and little aggression on first and second downs. Pedestrian playcalling, again. Our running game was supposed to be a strength. What happened?

No Rosy Future, but…
Eli reminds us that we have another tough road game ahead, the quarterback situation is “in shambles,” the athletic center is up in the air and there’s anything but an aura of calm. It’s not time to panic yet, but perhaps it will be soon.

Avinash isn’t destitute yet. He knows that ASU and USC will be tricky, but wins over these teams would help heal past losses. He still has hope, but we’ll need to bring it against the Sun Devils.

Our old blogger Gerald reports from the Daily Cal:

“Obviously, the national championship is out of the picture, the Rose Bowl is out of the picture, but you’ve still got to play,” linebacker Worrell Williams said. “You still have to suit up and you still have to play. We have six or seven games left. It’s about pride now, you’ve got to show up.”

Yes, we still have our pride, but we’ll seriously have none if we lose to Stanford. Then again, that game against USC did throw us for a loop.

Image Source: Shamim Pakzad, Daily Cal
Quick Hits, Cal-UCLA (Report Card) [Bears Necessity]
Game Over, Honeymoon Over [TBIOOTF]
Another Year, Another Missed Opportunity [Daily Cal]
Reactions: UCLA 30, Cal 21 [Cal Football Fan]


 Berkeley is obviously known for it’s eccentrics–heck, even the Wikipedia article on Telegraph Avenue includes them in its list of Telegraph’s “diverse audience of visitors.” Even alumni will tell which oddities frequented Upper Sproul in their day.And it seems that a new character has migrated into the entertainment playing in front of Dwinelle Hall (or this Clogger just hasn’t paid previous attention). We don’t know his name, but we can try to prove that he is somehow more eccentric than the other Southside eccentrics.The new character was carrying a carrying a large wooden sign that said “lennonmurdertruth.com.” Run by a certain Steve Lightfoot, the Web site claims that Stephen King shot John Lennon through a plot with Nixon and Reagan.The Web site seeks to promote Lightfoot’s booklet about the truth. What we specifically recommend checking out is the “About the Author” page. There, Lightfoot claims that
Even Paul McCartney, who endorsed me live at Berkeley (see Web site) has retreated singing “…words of NON wisdom…” lately letting civilization slide into barbarism and banality. His recent 2002 concert passed without a relevant remark.

 (Note: We looked everywhere on Lightfoot’s Web site, and could not see any endorsement by Paul McCartney, much less in Berkeley.)So while you are seeking to procrastinate with your typical Facebook routine, show some support of your local oddities, and consider this new character’s cause as equally necessary to check into as “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.”If anything, please do us a favor, and laugh at the juxtaposition of these two causes, which situated themselves today side by side outside of Dwinelle. And while you’re at it, ask the new eccentric if he is actually the Steve Lightfoot.Image Source: Roy KerwoodThe Truth About John Lennon’s Murder [Home]

If you didn’t see the ruckus that was plaguing Sather Gate earlier, then you probably don’t know: It’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. The creator, conservative pundit David Horowitz, is a Berkeley alumnus. Ironically, he also used to be one of them crazy lefties, just like another outspoken liberal-turned-conservative graduate–talk radio host Michael Savage. The law of nature states: For every tree sitter at Berkeley, there is a conservative pundit.Nevertheless, it seems conservatives are too outnumbered these days, especially ’round these parts. Perhaps this is why they are forced to communicate their opinions in a way that is ten times more asinine than all recent hippie protests combined! (Well, not including tree sitting campaign). In the East Bay Express, Horowitz states the reason why he feels Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a necessity on college campuses:

“I have to say that the left, which dominates the public square on campuses, is not liberal,” he said in a phone interview. “It does not really want to hear all sides of the argument.”

Hmm. We like how “holding up obnoxious signs at Sather Gate” is the classic way to get people to “hear all sides of the argument.” It reminds us of what a Code Pink chick said about military recruitment center supporters while protesting against the center last week. The following quote is from the Chron:

But a pink-clad Carly Hue, 26, of Berkeley said, “I think you can’t make sense out of people who don’t make sense. You can’t talk to people who won’t listen.”

Well, at least the extreme liberals and extreme conservatives seem to agree on one thing overall–that they don’t really listen to each other.And until they do, the endless protests will keep going in a never ending cycle, while we watch on the sidelines only to be labeled apathetic. Can’t we all just get along?Alas–probably not.So, let’s just sit back, relax, and enjoy the Berkeley College Republicans’ anti-terrorist slam poetry on Thursday–and the protest that is sure to accompany it.Republican Group’s Event Plans Under Fire [Daily Cal]Battleground Sproul [East Bay Express]Supporters, protesters wage a war of words over Berkeley recruiting station [SF Chronicle]

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